February 7, 2024

Beth Gibbons - "Floating on a Moment"

The Portishead lead singer has announced her solo debut album, Lives Outgrown, and it's due in May.

For Portishead fans, the time between their self-titled sophomore record, Portishead, and their brilliant, aptly-named third album, Third, felt like an eternity. To think that the timespan between Third's release and now is nearly double is hard to fathom. Many fans still have hope that a fourth album may one day arrive and while the band has certainly hinted that nothing is impossible, that day doesn't seem anywhere close. While the return of the beloved trip-hop group may be dashing ever so slightly before our eyes, the band's lead singer has announced her first solo album will be out soon and she's shared the first single, the haunting "Floating on a Moment." Sparse guitar strings pluck out a melody that eerily recalls the work of her main band and you wouldn't be wrong for wondering if this was perhaps a demo or outtake from Dummy, but after a rather minimal thirty seconds, we finally hear Beth's voice, somehow beautifully preserved, recalling her holy, angelic croon, like no time has actually passed at all. Soft as chalk and pristine like fine china, Gibbons gently makes her way out of the shadows that creep around the edges of the track and moves into the spotlight with a bit of reserved power. We know what she's capable of and she does too, but here she still holds back, ever so slightly, calling us forward into the world she's painstakingly created. Beats are slow and steady and the song moves like molasses, weaving itself through ghostly choral moments and acoustic strings, giving space for Beth to unleash her crushing sorrow, proclaiming that "all we have is here and now." It's remarkable just how good she sounds, although we knew this was the case from her feature on Kendrick's last album, but it still feels as if we've discovered some kind of buried treasure. Recorded over a ten year span, her solo record has been a long-developing album and this soft introduction is a wonderful welcomed return.

Lives Outgrown is out May 17.

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